London Council launches support for new generation of business pioneers

18 October 2019

As part of our commitment being a full employment borough, a new wave of entrepreneurs is being encouraged to set up and develop their business ideas and grow their enterprises with support from Southwark Council’s new Pioneers Fund.

Southwark has officially launched its new business support initiative this week with a special event at Canada Water Library on Thursday 17 October

The council established the fund to support local entrepreneurs, charities, and enterprises in the borough to grow and scale, build their capacity and in turn contribute to business growth and social value in Southwark – or even across London.

Southwark is home to a thriving business sector and business investment. Southwark has the fifth largest number of large businesses located in London, the fourth largest number of medium businesses, the fifth largest number of small businesses and the twelfth largest number of micro-enterprises.

Southwark is also home to a committed and engaged Voluntary and Community Sector, with a significant number of social enterprises and charities improving lives across Southwark and beyond.

Cllr Stephanie Cryan, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Business and Innovation, said: “Southwark is committed to being a growth borough, where businesses and charities thrive and prosper. Although it is home to a number of internationally recognised names in the business world, it is our smaller and start-up businesses that are the heart and soul of our borough.

“Small and independent businesses are vital to the Southwark economy; they make up the majority of businesses in Southwark providing jobs for local people and opportunities for business start-ups and self-employment. Around 97% of businesses in Southwark are firms that employ less than 50 people. We also know that under represented groups find it harder to get the financial support they need for their business.

“This is why we want to support our local entrepreneurs and help new businesses who might have a great business idea but just need a bit of a leg up to help them get started.”

Guest speaker at the event was Deborah Robert who started her own hair and beauty business after getting a grant and business mentoring.

Deborah said: “Getting the business grant was a real turning point for me. It boosted my confidence, got me the equipment I needed to provide the services I wanted and helped me market myself in a better way. It made me look and feel more professional and eventually I was able to move into my own studio space and employ two members of staff.

“Of course I made mistakes, everyone does, but the advice I got from mentoring and the business support helped me use the money the best way to grown and expand.”

As well as offering grants of up to £5,000 per enterprise from October 2019 onwards, the Fund will also provide tailored business support and access to business networks and affordable workspaces in 2020. This will be followed by a loans package, for those enterprises that are ready for more significant financial investment.

For more information including terms of eligibility, or to find out about more how to apply for grant funding please visit

Page last updated: 18 October 2019